I just reviewed book 1. And I really enjoyed it. This one is an ARC from Hyperion Disney Book Group. I picked it up in New Orleans. And the actual book comes out in two days. I’m glad I had the second book in hand before reading the first one because the first one has a very abrupt ending.
I think I may have liked this one more than the first one. Renee is just so much more powerful. And everyone knows I love a strong female main character!
Be warned that I am about to spoil some things. The first book ends with Renee kissing Dante, after they are all knocked underground, where the undead can’t live. She gives him her soul back. And the book ends with her reliving Dante’s most crucial life moments, including his interesting childhood, his death, and his special moments with Renee. And at first those reliving scenes were confusing because I couldn’t tell Renee and Dante apart, but then I understood that that was the point, and Woon really shocked me with some excellent writing abilities at the end. But then, the scenes stop (right when you get used to them and want to keep learning more about Dante). You learn that Renee has been dead for ten days when she awakens. And the book ends with Dante telling her goodbye and kissing her again (returning their shared soul).
This book begins at Renee’s grandfather’s house. You learn that Renee hasn’t seen Dante since that kiss. But all summer, she received secret notes from him mixed into the letters Renee has been getting from a different undead friend: Eleanor. Apparently, people are blaming Dante for the death of their headmaster, and he needs to stay hidden (especially from all the monitors). The one thing I didn’t like about this book was all the moping moments where Renee misses Dante. I guess they really are soul mates, and Renee can’t really feel as much without him around any more (literally, she doesn’t smell things as well or taste things any more).
Doctors have determined that Renee is definitely alive though. And things really take off when Renee’s favorite teacher is found dead the same way her parents were found dead. Gottfried Academy closes to monitors but remains open to the undead. And Renee is shipped to a different school just for monitors in Canada. She has all sorts of new school drama there. Another boy enters the pictures, but there are a few sizzling, hidden scenes with Dante. At her new school, Renee learned about a group of women monitors who supposedly figured out the secret to immortality. And this myth starts off a new mystery.
Renee does not have a lot of time to come up with a plan B for Dante, who has only a few years left in his undead body. There’s new friends, plenty of snooping, sneaking out, romantic moments, murder, secret riddles and hidden clues, history, scary societies of undead children, and a lot of new information. Renee learns that it’s not common for monitors to die with gauze in their mouths. That death usually symbolizes torture, where information can be had from someone before their soul is slowly taken away.
A lot of this book is about trust. Renee has become amazingly good at monitoring. She can do things that no other monitor can. Add that to some serious visions. And then she’s never sure if the visions are a sign from the monitor sisterhood or if she’s reliving more of Dante’s life. For a while, she’s sure it’s Dante’s life, but then that would mean he was near all of these monitors when they died, and there is a short period of time where Renee is positive that Dante did kill all these people.
Again, it ends rather abruptly, and I’m really hoping for a book 3. It ends with fight scenes back at Gottfried, where a secret is hidden. And it slightly reminded me of Harry Potter, and how the trio had to go back to Hogwarts for a certain horcrux.
Besides all the Dante missing, I loved this one. I loved how different Renee was and how effected she was by the kiss. I love how much stronger she was and how intent she was on figuring everything out, despite the fact that no one, and I mean no one felt the need to fill her in. I liked the new school. I liked all the underground tunnels, and learning more about monitors in general. I liked her new Russian friend, who’s a talented monitor herself. And I loved the mystery again. The supernatural visions and the secret riddles just made everything so interesting! And again, I loved this whole different undead concept.
Let’s hope it’s not going to be a pattern in book 3 to have all of Renee’s new friends die for her. And I’m hoping some things will get answered. I want to know who’s killing everyone. I feel like there has to be more of an explanation. Who’s the leader of that undead society? Why did Dante not have Renee run away with him? What is Dante, and even Renee’s grandfather still holding back from her? Is the one sister still alive? And is the immortality secret true? I give this one a 9/10. And hopefully, Woon plans on coming out with a book 3 soon and hopefully book 3 will have a lengthier, more final ending.